There’s a reason why I avoid romance movies and novels. Actually, there’s probably more than one reason why I avoid them, but mostly I avoid them because they either make me feel like I’m going to be alone forever because I cannot find a love like that, or they have their own tragic sad ending, reinforcing that even when a person finds love the universe is too heartless to let that beauty and love exist. Then I get filled with a sense of sadness, and, if left unchecked, I can start crying at the drop of a hat for a few days afterward.
For example, it was a romance movie that caused me to cry last. I watched The Best of Me last night with my roommate and by the end of the movie we were both blubbering. (There will be spoilers, so you may want to skip this post if that’s an issue for you.)
It’s the story of two lovers, Amanda (played by Michelle Monaghan and Liana Liberato) and Dawson (played by James Marsden and Luke Bracey), who were separated from each other when young Dawson is incarcerated following the attack of his mentor, Tuck (played by Gerald McRaney), and the death of Dawson’s cousin. The story of how they meet and fall in love is the usual high school love story, but when, twenty years later, he almost dies and has a vision of her, it feels like something more.
Wonderful love story. True love that transcends the distances apart and seemingly keeps Dawson miraculously alive, giving him an opportunity to reconnect with his one true love? Does it get any better than that? *Sigh* There’s an element of fate or destiny to the story, which makes you feel really good about life and love and all the things that make the world a beautiful place.
And then at the end, they go and kill the main love interest! Dawson is murdered (by his father of all people) and his heart is given to save the life of the female lead’s son (yes, she married someone else, and he’s a total dick to her). There is no happy ending for the lovers. I mean, yeah, sure her son lives and that’s great, but what about true love? We watch how horribly Amanda’s husband treats her, and we watch how she finally wakes up to how awful her life has become because she’s stuck in a loveless marriage. She decides to change, to go back to her one true love, and then tragedy strikes!
My roommate and I cried like, well like girls who just finished watching a horrendously sad romance movie.
I suppose I should have known better… The movie’s based on a book by the same guy that did the Notebook. His movies are notorious for having sad endings with some sort of half-assed uplifting message about self improvement learned through love and the loss thereof. You know the guy: Nicholas Sparks. There are jokes about how all of his movie posters (well most of them) have pictures of people just about to kiss. They almost never quite make it to an actual kiss…
And apparently happy endings just aren’t allowed. There’s even an article ranking the deaths in these movies.
Why do women continue to watch (and read) this kind of stuff? And men wonder why we get so emotional when a relationship doesn’t go a certain way. We’ve been programmed, I tell you! Programmed to believe that love, true love, has a certain feeling to it. There’s a certain amount of passion required for it to be real. And a certain way the guy will act. There’s a certain amount of allowances to be given because there is always the momentary break while both parties have to remember why they were in love in the first place. They have to realize they missed each other.
This is why we make mistakes and talk to our exes, and then we cry even harder when it ends even worse than it did the first time. Romance novels and movies have made us believe that there will be a man who will let us go and then he’ll realize his mistake and come back with apologies and do all the right things, and it will end with the perfect happily ever after.
Every time it doesn’t, we get a little more jaded, a little less likely to trust someone, a little more paranoid and nosy.
And we cry. A lot. About everything.
Thanks romance movies (and Nicholas Sparks). Thanks a lot for taking me on an emotional roller coaster ride through hell!